US military intervention in Lebanon ("Operation Blue Bat")

US military intervention in Lebanon ("Operation Blue Bat")

Start Date: Tuesday, 15 Jul 1958
End Date: Saturday, 25 Oct 1958
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The Lebanon crisis of 1958 was a Lebanese political crisis caused by political and religious tensions in the country. Tensions with Egypt had escalated earlier in 1956 when pro-western President Camille Chamoun, a Christian, did not break diplomatic relations with the Western powers that attacked Egypt during the Suez Crisis, angering Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Lebanese Sunni Muslim Prime Minister Rashid Karami supported Nasser in 1956 and 1958. Karami formed a national reconciliation government after the 1958 crisis ended. Lebanese Muslims pushed the government to join the newly created United Arab Republic (Egypt and Syria), while the Christians wanted to keep Lebanon aligned with Western Powers. A Muslim Rebellion and the toppling of a pro-Western government in Iraq caused the President Camille Chamoun to call for U.S. assistance. President Eisenhower responded by authorizing Operation Blue Bat on July 15, 1958. The goal of the operation was to bolster the pro-Western Lebanese government of President Camille Chamoun against internal opposition and threats from Syria and the United Arab Republic. The plan was to occupy and secure the Beirut International Airport, a few miles south of the city, then to secure the port of Beirut and approaches to the city. The operation involved approximately 14,000 men, including 8,509 Army personnel, including a contingent from the 24th Airborne Brigade of the 24th Infantry Division (Germany) and 5,670 officers and men of the Marine Corps. The presence of the troops successfully quelled the opposition and the U.S. withdrew its forces on October 25, 1958. During the intervention, one U.S. soldier had been shot by a sniper and three others died in accidents. President Eisenhower also sent diplomat Robert D. Murphy to Lebanon as his personal representative. Murphy played a significant role in persuading President Chamoun to resign and also in the selection of a Christian General, Fuad Chehab, as Chamoun's replacement.

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